Her Glowing Shades of Temptation

stripper

Even before she appeared, he could smell her.

She dared awaken all his senses.

The little vixen.

Desire….he thought.

When she finally appeared, it felt like magic.

He had never seen sin look so beautiful.

Effortlessly, she carried herself…or so it seemed.

He was captivated by her every step,

Her legs must have made a deal with gravity,

She was a force to reckon with.

Shaken…his heart flattered.

Her hips swayed from side to side,

Her waist suggesting all evils forbidden to mortal man,

Her lips a deep shade of trouble.

She was dangerous.

And she knew it.

Seduce…she was on a mission.

When she smiled, he knew the universe had betrayed him.

Enchanted by her voice,

Taken in by her domineering presence,

He could do nothing but stare.

He swallowed hard.

Lust…his jeans became tighter.

When she touched him,

It was not with her hand.

For a moment he could not tell their bodies apart.

And when she sat in front of him,

One leg over the other,

There were more parts of her undressed than dressed.

He could see her red blood cells at work through her lace top.

Imagination had nothing on her.

She was the reality he had ever dreamt of.

Without touching, he felt her every caress.

Without realising it, he was responding.

Pleasure…he fed his eyes.

Her lips…or dear God,

Like two gates from behind which pleasure resided,

They glowed.

He thirsted for the juices that dripped from his imagination.

Every time she breathed, it was his heart that stopped.

Her presence was in itself pleasure to behold,

An epitome of things unclean and things most tasteful.

Lust…this dame lust.

That night when he lay awake in bed,

The snoring sounds of his wife gravely pronouncing

The contrast between night and day.

The woman beside him was nothing like the one he had earlier encountered

That one had pushed his soul to the very corners of hell

And made him wish he had stayed there.

She was a temptation even to the devil himself.

Whereas the beautiful devil had made the foundations of his loins hot with desire,

The woman softly snoring away beside him was warm and cuddly.

He watched her chest rise and fall,

Slowly, he moved her head to help her breath properly.

She felt his hand on her.

She opened her eyes and smiled at him,

Planted a kiss on his forehead and sealed the distance between them,

Attaching her naked body to his.

It was a body he knew all too well.

He knew he was home.

Content….he remembered his mother’s words.

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A Very ‘Relative’ Moment

Thursday morning last week I was getting ready for work when my phone rang, a strange number…and this conversation transpired:

NB: The other side of this conversation was happening in Bemba (vernacular) while my responses where in a terrible form of code-switching- Bemba to English, vice versa.

“Annie! Where are you? How long can it take you to come to town?” A woman’s voice from the other end said. She was speaking in Bemba yet the only word that sounded Bemba from everything she had just said was my name.

First thoughts through my mind were; what the hell? Who is this supposed to be? I had not made any plans with anyone to meet them in town.

I have a habit of ignoring calls from certain people, especially if they call me in the morning because they have a great potential to ruin the rest of what I always hope to be a great day. This was one of those cases; strange number, but familiar voice.

“Yes Auntie, how are you?” I replied in Bemba, the only words I can confidently speak in Bemba without feeling like I just got caught peeking through a shower room window. The woman I called aunt was someone I met not so long ago and was informed of our blood relations by one of my siblings, much to my dismay.

I still remember my sibling’s words after the introductions; “Grow up Ann, whether you like it or not she is your aunt and you have to respect and treat her as such.” Of course a lot of other things where said that day, suffice to say, I was not very receptive towards the new member of the family. However, she had come into my life at a point when her presence was considered necessary, or so I was told.

“I have a young lady with me here…your cousin,” the woman was saying. “Can you pick her up? She needs ‘piece work’. Maybe your company is looking for people like that, you can set her up with a job.” She was speaking so fast I could barely comprehend her words. I mean, I could take in this word and that…but all of them altogether? I suspect that I may have actually understood her, except I found everything she was saying absolutely impossible.

And so my response was, “er…?”

Thinking that it was the volume she needed to adjust and not her head, she screamed, “the young lady I am with wants to come to your work place so that you can give her a job!” She assaulted my poor delicate ears forcing me to slightly pull back the phone from my ear but I could still hear her talking. “I came all the way with her because she needs to do some jobs. Perhaps your company is looking for people to do some cleaning, dusting…or any such work.”

“Which young lady are you talking about and which job?” I asked, sounding very puzzled. I had not spoken to this woman in a while yet the conversation sounded as if it had a prelude.

“Your cousin,” she said the name. “Here, talk to her.” She handed the phone to the young lady in question. From her tone of voice I could tell she was somewhere in her mid to late twenties. I didn’t know who she was, but she sounded as if she knew me.

“Where is your work place?” The young lady asked, very matter-of-factly.

I gave her directions, against my better judgement. I was still confused. Nothing seemed to make sense.

“But what do you want with my work address?” I asked. “I only recently changed jobs and I am not in HR so I cannot give you any job. There is no need for you to come to my office.” I desperately tried to get my point across, switching from English to Bemba.

“Don’t you know any people that are looking to hire anyone?” The young lady asked.

“Like I said, I am new and I don’t know that many people here yet.” I answered.

“I can do all sorts of jobs…” The young lady was trying to explain before I cut her off.

“I am really sorry I can’t help you.”

“How many buses do I need to take from town to your office?” She asked.

My mouth fell wide open, my words stuck somewhere in my throat from the shock of it all. I felt like I was talking to a wall.

When I finally regained my senses, “I do not think there is any need for you to waste your transport money coming all the way to my workplace,” I said. “There is nothing I can do for you at this point.”

I could hear movement and when my aunt’s voice came back on, it had been the phone changing hands. “I came with this young lady all the way from…” she said the place, “…and I promised her that her relatives in Lusaka will give her a job. If you can’t pick her up from here at least give her directions to your workplace so she can come there.” I do not understand the gymnastics of the Bemba language but it was very clear someone was not pleased with me. I wondered what I did wrong.

She did not understand why despite having a car, I could not go to pick them up from wherever they were, and why I was refusing to give the young lady a job. I cannot even begin to explain the absurdity of it all.

When that conversation ended, I felt like I had lost a couple of pounds or so trying to contain my emotions. I wanted to lash out, I wanted to awaken the past and most of all, I wanted to let them know that my memory was working perfectly.

Coming from a family with a somewhat complicated extended family background, I would have never imagined having a conversation like this one. How is it that people who claim to be relatives like to show up in your life at times when you feel you do not necessarily need them? Where were they when you needed them the most? What right do they have to make demands and expect them to be carried out just like that?

I am a Christian yes but I still find letting go of certain things very difficult…especially things that scarred my life terribly. When that woman I call my aunt called me in that tone of voice and pressed her demands, was I wrong to feel so offended and wish that she would just leave me alone and disappear from my life?

Sadly, I am not the only one with complicated extended family issues. My friend Cornelius lost his parents when he was very little and none of his relatives would take him and his relatives in. They did however manage to get as much property as they could get their hands on and left the children to fend for themselves. Twenty years later Cornelius is has a good job and a family of his own and the very relatives that had abandoned him keep showing up on his door step.

Cornelius hates hosting his relatives because they are a constant reminder of the pain he and his siblings had to go through all those years. He hates watching his wife tend to them and do her best to make them feel at him. He does not wish for them to feel at home. He wants them to constantly be reminded of the damage they caused to him and his loved ones.

I understand Cornelius. I have heard people constantly say forgive and pray over it. There is always a part of me that turns whenever someone tells me ‘pray over it,’ because they are telling me in short, that no human solutions are enough to curb the hate that I am feeling and so I have to keep waiting for divine intervention. It’s a good solution, but one that also requires strength. And this begs another question, if I forgive them easily, will they ever learn that what they did was wrong? And what about their punishment?

I do not like the fact that when such people come back into the lives they injured, it’s not to seek forgiveness, but mostly to seek favours, expecting you to have forgotten everything. So before forgiving, would I be wrong to jolt their memories a bit? The temptation is just too loud to ignore….

YES I’M A WOMAN, BUT AM STIL NOT VOTING FOR DR. KASEBA

We are at it again. The drama of Zambian politics right now is enough to impregnate even the most barren woman of them all. It’s preposterous!

I don’t know how many times some of my friends have called me or texted me over the fact that Dr Kaseba is thinking about contesting in the next presidential elections – be they By, or General Elections. Somehow, and I don’t know how this came to be, they expect me to be happy about this development. And every time her name is mentioned, the fact that she is a woman is repeatedly mentioned…and with impunity.

Most of my friends are of the idea that I am a Feminist, a belief I have not disputed. Because of this, they naturally expect me to be head over heels excited that a female candidate has been presented to the nation. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint my friends because the truth is I am not voting for Dr Kaseba.

I know some people out there keep thinking, ‘women, they just don’t support each other yet they keep preaching women empowerment and gender equality.” And this is where the problem is; people thinking that just because a female is contesting in the political race then all women should give her their support. This has got nothing to do with gender equality or women empowerment.

Yes I understand that generally women don’t like each other but who can blame us, we were raised to look at each other like rivals….and rivals over what you ask me? Sadly, over men! But that’s not my issue here. My issue is that just because I will not be voting for Kaseba does not mean that I do not want to support a fellow woman.

When men vote for their fellow men, do they do it just because they share the same physiological or biological setup or they vote based on their own standards of merit? I refuse to vote for someone just because she has a womb. I want to vote for someone whom I feel deserves my vote because they have worked hard to earn it…and Kaseba is not that.

Now I am not saying that my statements are fact, they are simply opinions. But before people crucify me for being anti-feminist, let me reiterate the fact that feminism has totally nothing to do with me supporting a woman I feel does not deserve my vote based on standards of mine that constitute merit.

I don’t care about ‘mourning period’ and all the traditional staff people keep sprouting every time the widow’s name is mentioned. Grieving for me has always been an issue of mind over matter. If I never convinced myself to get over my mother’s death, I would still be down and miserable to this day. But just because I chose to accept her death does not mean I don’t cry every now and then. As a matter of fact, there is still a huge part of me that feels that despite the two years, I am still in mourning. So, don’t expect me to judge anyone over how they choose to mourn their loved one.

I have seen and heard of men marry new wives just a few weeks, and sometimes days after the death of their spouses and nobody has ever crucified them for defying a mourning period. So why should the mourning period be so pronounced just because it’s a woman? I hate that women are expected to spend years mourning their spouses at the expense of their sanity and emotional well-being.

Sata should be turning in his grave if he’s seeing what he’s wife is up to,

I keep hearing that. The dead are conscious of nothing and Sata was turning and tossing even while he was still alive. That man had been ill for a bloody long time and if at all he is conscious of anything down there, it is only to continue turning and tossing in pain. So let’s just pray that he is resting in peace for now, I can bet you there is a stone somewhere in the world with those words on it. So no, he is not turning at whatever is happening in Zambia. Forget it. Leave the dead be. There is usually a reason why they are called…what’s that word again, oh yeah, dead.

Now back to why I am not shipping Christine’s candidacy.

I hate that she is riding on the wave of emotions that the nation bestowed on her as a grieving widow. I hate that she might be of the illusion that just because she was a first lady then she qualifies to become president of the state very so suddenly. I hate that she thinks she has done enough to prove to Zambians that she deserves that seat. I hate that she claims…like many from the Sata family that they wish to continue the late president’s legacy!

What legacy I ask? And if at all there is such a profound legacy, it is certainly a legacy I never bought whilst it was still in motion…and I definitely won’t like it any better the second time around. And most importantly, I think there are other people that are more deserving of my vote because they have done enough to prove that they deserve it. Unfortunately, it just so happens that those other people have a higher testosterone level than the doc. I know politicians are liars; but anyone that can lie through their teeth and convince me otherwise even though I know at the back of my head that they are lying, that’s called hard work.

If within this short period of time, this woman with whom I share certain biological and physiological traits can convince me that she actually has what it takes to be my president, then hell yeah, I will give her my vote. Otherwise for now, I am still not convinced. And this has nothing to do with her femininity whatsoever. It is absolutely based on what I feel is merit.

I think that what is insulting to women is the fact that people naturally expect you to give support to each other based on your sex. Yes it is fun to see men provide cover for each other when they are swimming in the juices of infidelity but that kind of support is at a whole different level when compared to the kind of support that is expected when talking politics. I would hate to empower someone into a position that I know very well might lead to them causing more harm than healing on a national, or even global scale.

Yes, I agree, Dr Kaseba has the right to stand for presidency. In fact, I applaud her for that! I am a feminist after all! I love that she has the courage to stand up against all the expected norms and shoot for the stars. I bow to her for that. It takes courage to go against any traditional norms and culture whether you have grounds to defy them or not.

However, she is joking if she thinks, or if anyone else out there thinks she deserves support from all women just because…yes, just because. I wish she could have waited, not because she needed to mourn or whatnot – coz that’s a whole other issue; but because she needs time to assert herself as a viable candidate against everyone else who is standing. People shouldn’t vote out of pity just because she is a widow or because she is a woman who deserves to be empowered. This is not gender equality, its standard foolishness 101.

This country is in this current state of chaos because without thinking, people voted for ‘change,’ and they didn’t care much about the form in which that change came. For once I hope Zambians can think long term and not short term when it comes to politics. Presidents have the potential to either build or destroy a nation. Just because one feels they can rule does not mean that they actually can. As the late president discovered, that position is way too heavy and whoever sits in it should be deserving of it and prepared.

When the Woman is the Breadwinner: A Shift in Power Dynamics

women in power

There is this beautiful woman I know. I will call her Mary.

Mary is a vivacious 30 year old lawyer who recently made partner at one of the most respected local law firms. Her salary is fatter than the waist size of her 10 year old overweight daughter and she drives one of those fancy vehicles with a name she can hardly pronounce. Mary is the ultimate working woman.

Unfortunately, Mary’s husband Joe has been jobless for over three years now, a fact that has caused a dramatic shift in the power dynamics in her marriage.

He still expects me to treat him like a man when he hasn’t been able to act like one for over two years now.” I have heard Mary say this many times.

Mary has even gone further to withdraw sex from her relationship because she feels her husband does not deserve it; a move that she’s paid for in more ways than the obvious. Ever since Joe lost his job, he has come to hate the word ‘man’ because his wife tends to use it quite a lot in most of their conversations…and it always carries with it a negative connotation.

These words: Man….Woman

I have always been of the belief that people are born either male or female… (or sometimes both) not by choice but because a group of chromosomes somewhere decided that it was best for this particular individual to be born that way. However, one does not become either a woman or man by default; this one is a conscious decision that one makes and to do so, they need to meet certain requirements. It is never just a matter of what lies below the belt and I think this is what Mary is always referring to.

Nevertheless, Mary’s attitude towards her husband left me thinking; why are the relationship dynamics so different when the woman is the breadwinner and the man isn’t? Isn’t Mary just being an ungrateful and disrespectful woman now that she has become such a hot shot lawyer? Human nature…eh? Always quick to judge. But as I listened to Mary’s reasoning, I couldn’t help feeling a little sympathetic towards her.

When women get married, they are meant to believe – directly or indirectly that the man will take care of them, provide for them financially whether he likes it or not, protect them, and love them eternally. Men too enter marriage with their own set of expectations from the woman; she will care for him, tend to his every need whether she likes it or not, take care of their kids, make a home for the family and love him eternally. These expectations are not necessarily written in print but they are there. And once these expectations are not met, problems will surely arise. Let’s for a moment put issues of gender equality and feminism in a little box we will open later. For now, let’s focus on what happens when there is a shift in expectations and the woman takes up the role of the man and becomes the breadwinner of the family.

I have heard people say that a man does not stop being a man just because he cannot provide for his family. What they should be staying instead is that a male does not stop being a male just because he is not in a position to be the kind of man that his woman expects him to be. A wise King will feel uncomfortable wearing the crown when he has found himself in a position where he cannot be the kind of King that his people want – when he cannot deliver. He might still wear the crown yes, but that won’t change the fact that he has failed somewhere. However, irrespective of all these issues, it is commonly accepted and rightly so that a man shall be the head of the house. Now I don’t know if that statement still applies when the man is incapable of providing for his family over a prolonged period of time or not. I am guessing issues of religion will have a lot to say about the answer to that.

But here’s what am thinking:

The vows – for better or worse, through thick and thin. What do these words actually mean?

Naturally, it is expected that when a man is down on his luck, the woman will be patient enough and trust that he will soon rise again and be the kind of man she expects him to be. But what if that never happens for say, two, three, four, and sometimes even five years or more? What happens to the power dynamics in the relationship? Because I am woman, I tend to see things clearly from the point of view of a woman…but I can try to imagine that of a man’s.

When two people get married, they become equals…well, not necessarily since the man we are told is the head of the house. But whatever either of them does, it should be for the interest of the family and should never be about “I, me, myself, you…” If the man is not in a position to provide for his family, what is wrong with a woman taking up that role? Why should it be a big deal when she is the one holding the financial realms of the family and not when it is the man? Why is it that women are so selfish with their money – the money they make is theirs but the money the man makes is for the family? I have heard most of my male friends ask that question quite often!

My answer to that question usually is that because we were socialized to believe that the man is the financial provider of the family. The woman is simply a helper. Just like a man expects that his wife will wash his dirty boxers, clean the house, carter to the children and to his every need, cook for him, iron…the list is endless, a woman has only one expectation – that the man will provide for the family financially. To use words that might lead to my crucification, I will say, the woman agrees to act like his maid with benefits and the man lives to pay his dues.

It is hard for women like Mary to continue playing both roles of the sexes and it is foolish of men to believe the power dynamics will remain unshaken if such a development occurs. While the woman works to earn an income for the family and then gets back home to play the role of the dotting wife and mother, what is the man doing to seal his role as head of the family? Just because it is written somewhere that by virtue of him being a man he is head of the house does not mean he should expect to be treated as such even when he has not done much to earn that title. And don’t get me wrong, it is not always a matter of financial responsibilities. There are other responsibilities that men have towards their families that make them head of the family. But right now I am mostly interested in the financial aspect.

Additionally, I feel I should mention that I am not assuming that jobless men are in that position by choice or that they are not doing enough to change that situation. I know of a number of men that strive every day to make ends meet because they know exactly who they ought to be for their families. However, the reason I found myself sympathizing with Mary is because her situation was quite peculiar.

During the first month of her husband’s joblessness, Mary understood his position and what he must have been going through. Here was a man who was once used to being on top of his game career wise and now he had no job. They both kept hoping for the best as days went by and the applications kept being written. However, after eight months or so, Joe became frustrated and depression slowly kicked in. Joe began to change. To Mary, he became nothing like the man she had married. The late nights, the rude responses, the phone calls from different women during the early hours of the morning…how his ever sombre face would suddenly light up when he received calls from those women. Why was he treating her like that? Was it her fault that things had turned out like that for him? Why was he taking it out on her?

Mary had done her best to become both man and woman of the house. Initially, Joe would try his best to help out his wife but as time went by; he completely gave up and stopped trying. Mary was human enough to understand his frustrations but just because she understood does not mean it made everything okay. Being human also meant she could get frustrated at times too. And the stress was killing her. She would come back home to find a dirty house, dirty kids, dirty plates, no cooked food, a drunk husband dead asleep on the living room floor…a complete mess. Here’s a woman who had just spend the whole day in a verbal war trying to convince a group of corporate giants to surrender their money and she comes home to this mess. Of course she was not pleased and she made that fact known in very precise terms.

What was worse for Mary is that on several occasions, she had to deal with confrontations from her in-laws who naturally assumed that she had lost respect for her husband now that he was jobless when all the while she had been ‘chewing’ his money with impunity. Mary had not changed except her husband’s family had gone into defensive mode thinking she was going to leave him. They were expecting her to leave him. At some point their frustrations towards her had become a matter of her not living up to their expectations of leaving.

Mary believes it was not her fault that her husband changed but it’s his guilt over his failure to get back to being the man he used to be that led to him turning out this way. And I agree with her. The trouble with such a development is that the one that has to deal with all of this is Mary and I find that very unfair. Love is based on feelings and feelings as we all know are fickle. If they are not nurtured, they tend to die. While Mary insists she is still in-love with her husband, it is very clear her perception of him has greatly changed over the past few years. He is no longer the man she married and whether that has something to do with him being jobless or not is still a matter of debate. What is clear however is that she cannot look at Joe the same way she used to.

Always, people will assume women are ‘unloyal’ especially towards a husband who is jobless. A man being jobless for a year or so isn’t a matter to cry over. Women understand that the world of employment is unfriendly. The problem most women have is if for over a prolonged period of time, a man is still jobless yet he does not help out around the house. He still expects his wife to do the home work and to work a job at the same time. What’s worse, he expects her to give it to him in bed with as much vigour as she used to when he used to have a job. Unlike men, women tend to associate sex with feelings. They don’t just respond just because something naked is standing in front of them. This means that if she is feeling tired, stressed, frustrated and very pissed, she won’t give it to you the way you want it. It is not that she doesn’t love you anymore; it is because you have done enough to consider her feelings.

Yes there are certain types of women who will lose interest in their men once they become jobless and those women are what we call gold diggers. But not every woman who gets frustrated over her husband’s joblessness is a gold digger. It is the circumstances that arise from such a development that might lead one to change completely. I wish we would not be quick to judge.

career women

Now to open the Feminism and Gender Equality box, I think it is only fair that if a husband or man is jobless and the woman is the breadwinner, let him at least take up certain responsibilities around the home to ease the wife’s work load. And I think it is because this is rarely done that women get frustrated. Do you think a working woman would complain about her husband’s joblessness if he did his best to meet her half-way despite his situation instead of leading himself into a depressive state and trying to rediscover his fading masculinity by sleeping around with any woman that can scream his name in ecstasy?

Not every woman who can take care of herself financially wants a rich or working man. They just want a man who can meet them half-way. Personally I think it’s unfair for such a man to expect his hard working woman to still carter to his every need and do all the chores around the house while he does nothing. He was the first to cause the power shift in the home whether by his own doing or by nature’s doing. And once that happens, other things around the home will change too.

This excuse of ‘I was out all day hustling and trying to find a job so am tired too,’ does not cut it. Just don’t let the woman do both your job and hers at the same time and still expect her to treat you the same way. Just because she understands your predicament does not mean she will not feel frustrated every now and then. If she is doing your role as provider of the family, why can’t you do her role as home maker instead? If she is man enough to step up to the challenge, what can’t you?